• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

Expert advises govt on airport infrastructure management, maintenance

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A facilities management and services expert, Femi Akintunde, has advised the Federal Government to initiate measures that could maximize the lifecycle of assets at airports, saying that government must begin to request public infrastructure concessionaires to demonstrate facilities management capacity before signing concessioning agreements.

Akintunde, known as the chief exponent of global best practices in the facilities management industry in Nigeria, argues that if government does not make this request, what it will be getting back at the end of its Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement will be a carcass of the infrastructure, pointing out that the cost of renovating such infrastructure to an acceptable standard at the end of the concession period, will almost wipe out all government’s earnings from the agreement.

“While commending government’s realization that efficiency is better driven through the private sector, it is also important to add that government cannot be the operator and regulator of facilities management at the airports or on any infrastructure at that. Government’s role should be to step back, ensure that professional facilities management companies are involved from the design stage and regulate the maintenance framework as stated in the agreement”, he advised further.

According to him, the defense put up in some government quarters notwithstanding, the realities of the state of Nigerian airports cannot be swept under the carpet, noting that as one of the largest producers of oil in the world, it is expected that the standard of facilities at our airports should be acceptable globally. “What we have currently doesn’t represent us as a nation with $510 billion GDP”, he added.

“Take the cleaning standard, for instance; it is currently below acceptable standard of an international airport. Also, the number of rest rooms is inadequate at most airports and the available ones are not well maintained. The cooling system can hardly cater for the high humidity of our climate, and the escalators, besides being small, often function erratically. Even the conveyor belts cannot be relied on, especially if one is in a hurry”, he fumed.

The FM expert who spoke  in Abuja on the report by ‘The Guide to Sleeping in Airports’—a a website that documents information on airports and the people who sleep in them—advised also that the current drive towards PPP for infrastructure development should be sustainable and continually benefit stakeholders, adding that facilities management should be fully taken into cognizance while all stakeholders must agree on a minimum maintenance standard for operations, renewal and upgrade of infrastructure facilities in the country.

CHUKA UROKO